Gleanings from the Past #88

Fortune Fortune, they say, doth give too much to many; But yet she never gave enough to any. — John Harington, 1600, quoted in The London Quarterly Review, January 1865 Behind every successful fortune there is a crime. — Mario Puzo, The Godfather, 1969 Writing Novels A man who is not born with the novel-writing […]

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Advice to Book Borrowers (Book Inscriptions)

The following are some book inscriptions found on old books warning book borrowers to return the books that they borrow: Neither blemish this book, or the leaves double down, Nor lend it to each idle friend in the town; Return it when read; or, if lost, please supply Another as good to the mind and […]

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Gleanings from the Past #87

Geometry and Poetry Geometry seems to stand for all that is practical, poetry for all that is visionary, but in the kingdom of the imagination you will find them close akin, and they should go together as a precious heritage to every youth. — Florence Milner, School Review, 1898 Epitaph on Richard Adlam In the romantic village […]

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When Edmund Spenser Showed His Poem to Elizabeth I

Eminent poet Edmund Spenser (1552/1553 – 1599) lived during the Elizabethan era. His most famous work is The Faerie Queene, an epic poem with an allegorical theme in praise of the Tudor dynasty and Queen Elizabeth I. The unique verse form (at the time) used in this work was invented by Spenser, which would later be […]

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“Mulled Up” Bill: A Berry Bizarre Response

When the Berry Brothers, who were famous London wine sellers during the eighteenth century, sent a bill too early to Irish poet and playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751 – 1816), he was not amused. He called it a “mulled up” bill, then proceeded to write the following reply: You have sent me your Bilberry, Before […]

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An Engineered Literary Hoax

In September 1810, Scottish writer Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) wrote a letter to Robert Southey (1774 – 1843) relating about a plagiarism allegation he received from an anonymous individual: A witty rogue, the other day, who sent me a letter subscribed “Detector,” proved me guilty of stealing a passage from one of Vida’s Latin […]

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Gleanings from the Past #83

Time Passing People parted, years passed, they met again — and the meeting proved no reunion, offered no warm memories, only the acid knowledge that time had passed and things weren’t as bright or attractive as they had been. — Jacqueline Susann, Valley of the Dolls. 1966 I’m terrified of the thought of time passing […]

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Gleanings from the Past #82

Wasted Time I wasted time, and now doth time waste me; For now hath time made me his numbering clock: My thoughts are minutes; and with sighs they jar Their watches on unto mine eyes, the outward watch, Whereto my finger, like a dial’s point, Is pointing still, in cleansing them from tears. Now sir, […]

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War and Politics

Beilby Porteus In one of the many heated debates in the House of Peers regarding England’s participation in the French Revolution in 1794, a noble lord on the opposition quoted a portion of a poem about war written by Bishop Beilby Porteus (1731 – 1809): One murder makes a villain; Millions, a hero! Princes are […]

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“Loss in Delays”

The following poem titled “Loss in Delays” was written by Robert Southwell (1561 – 1595), an English poet and priest during the Elizabethan era: Shun delays, they breed remorse, Take thy time, while time is lent thee; Creeping snails have weakest force, Fly their fault, lest thou repent thee; Good is best when soonest wrought, […]

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